Wendy Ritson obituary


My grandmother Wendy Ritson, who has died aged 90, was a classically educated violinist. She grew to become a member of the prog rock band Centipede underneath her married title, Wendy Treacher.

Based by the jazz pianist Keith Tippett in 1970, Centipede was made up of about 50 musicians who got here collectively to document a double album, Septober Vitality, in 1971. A sprawling creation, the LP consisted of 4 actions every lasting 20 minutes, with Wendy taking part in Bartók very quick backwards on the freestyle string part on the finish of the third observe.

After its launch she carried out with the band within the UK and mainland Europe till they disbanded in late 1971, after which she focused on her profession as a social employee, later coaching as a psychotherapist within the mid Seventies. She continued to play the violin for the love of it, and in addition taught the instrument for the following 50 years.

349 - Wendy Ritson obituary
The quilt of Centipede’s 1971 album Septober Vitality, that includes Wendy Treacher on violin

Wendy was born in Croydon, south London, the third baby of Hilda (nee Shrapnel) and Leonard Ritson, a leather-based items producer. Her secondary training was primarily at Sydenham highschool, the place she began taking part in the violin at 13. By 18 she was chief (principal first violin) of the London Faculties Symphony Orchestra, and in 1953 she joined the Royal Academy of Music, the place she met Graham Treacher, a fellow scholar, whom she married the next yr. They’d two sons collectively earlier than divorcing in 1964.

She started working as a minicab driver in north London whereas taking care of her kids and taking part-time skilled work with the Aeolian Sinfonia of North London and a string quartet that performed usually on the first Pizza Categorical eating places. She additionally taught violin, each privately and at St Marylebone grammar college.

It was by means of Wendy’s numerous musical connections that she got here to the eye of Tippett and was then invited to affix Centipede. When her time with the group had ended, she returned her focus to social work, which she had been concerned in for the reason that 60s, working within the Finchley, Brent and Golders Inexperienced areas of north London for the London borough of Barnet, which had initially sponsored her coaching.

She labored for a decade at areas resembling Friern psychiatric hospital in north London and Shenley hospital in Hertfordshire, earlier than qualifying as a psychotherapist.

She subsequently moved to Scotland in 1986 to show violin at Ardvreck college after which Croftinloan college, each in Perthshire. Within the early 90s she moved to Cambridge to show on the Perse college, later relocating to Bathtub after which Cheltenham, the place she gave non-public classes till 2022.

She saved herself match and wholesome into outdated age by means of taking part in tennis, jogging and strolling her canines.

Wendy is survived by her two sons, Martin and Dominic, 4 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


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